Is Reading Important in School?
Reading has always been an important part of American society, whether it was required or for fun. From teachers and students, to lawyers and scientists, humanity reads all the time, everyday. The need to be able to read and analyze is vital, yet most people still don’t agree with it.
Reading is one of the skills schools require to be able to grow your knowledge. A 2013 study done by Sellegren showed that “...readers had a 14.4 percent advantage in vocabulary and a 9.9 percent advantage in math.” Reading is important because not only does it strengthen the brain but it creates the habit of being able to see more than just the surface of one’s daily life.
With this in mind, is reading important in schools? Bethel College student Jessi Flores said, “I think oftentimes books are a great way for others to learn through the stories. We see examples of this in history and spiritual readings, like the Bible….it can help mold us into the people we are.”
Junior, Zoe Bush explained, “I think reading is extremely important. One of the biggest reasons (to read) is for vocabulary. When people stop reading I see that their vocabulary becomes smaller and smaller.” She continued, “It is scientifically proven that reading helps your brain with things like comprehension, memorization, and concentration.”
Freshman, Angelina Ortiz agreed and shared that, “In the future you are going to need to be able to understand what you read…and help in learning how to pronounce phrases that can be difficult.”
Sophomore Honors English teacher, Mrs. Jessica Monroe mentioned, “...if you aren’t reading it’s hard to find what topics you are interested in and what intrigues you. Along with reading, critical thinking is a skill that comes from it that’ll help you become a better independent reader.”
Even with the agreement that reading is important in schools, there is still a problem that follows it. What makes reading so difficult for students? Why is it so hard for a student to sit, read, and understand what they have read? Abundantly, students feel that the books given to them in the curriculum don’t feel relevant in their life. Both Flores and Bush agreed. Flores said, “I think oftentimes schools force students to read books that they feel [are] outdated or unrelated…”
If schools could open up their options on assigned reading portions then, “...the reading part of a student's life would improve,” said Ortiz. Bush added, “Another common reason [for students' dislike of reading] can be negative relationships between students and teachers…if you have a class where you hate the teacher you are less likely to perform well…”
Speaking from a teacher's perspective, Monroe said, , “I think that it’s hard for people to (ask for) help with reading after a certain age. I don't know if it’s shame or fear or what but there’s a certain barrier that’s stopping kids from asking for help and advice.” She explained, “I think some books are chosen because they are a good learning point….sometimes books are chosen to help kids find an interest in books that they wouldn’t read at all.”
Overwhelmingly, students feel forced to read pieces of literature that can be way outside of their understanding. Is there any way that teachers can help with that? What advice can they share with students to encourage them? “...if schools found creative ways to relate to things students find interesting or make it fun that they would then be able to enjoy [reading].” said Flores. “Schools can help by getting recommendations from students on what they might find interesting…even give students options to choose from so they can have a better range of what they could read.” Ortiz shared.
“All reading counts…some people think reading involves paper only but reading is reading wherever and whenever. But the more you do it (read) the more you will improve the skill. For some students it’s hard to read but it’s easier to push through it and find someone who will help you instead of not reading at all.” Monroe emphasized..
She continued, “Discussing reading is a part of helping you improve and grow, even with people who share the same interests as you. Read everything, read often, and talk about it with others.”
With the insight from students' point of views, they hope that teachers and professors would consider what they shared and with the advice from teachers they hope students will grow in their reading.